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The Telegraph, BBC, The New York Times and other media related websites recently posted a one-minute video showing a young boy heroically rescuing a young girl in the middle of the road under a burnt truck.

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The video, which went viral, racked up millions of YouTube views and trended heavily on other social media pages, was just a short film.

Many channels, which market themselves as ‘reliable,’ reported that the wide-spread ‘Syrian hero boy’ video was recorded in Yabroud, Syria, after it was posted online earlier in the week. The alleged place where the video was filmed is a countryside town 50 miles from Damascus. It was posted on YouTube by Shaam News Network channel –an anti-regime channel.

The video was exposed after a group of Norwegian filmmakers told BBC Trending that they were behind the viral video and that it was shot in the safety of Malta. The makers said they used professional actors and a voice of Syrian refugees to achieve it.

The 34-year-old film director, Lars Klevberg, told the BBC that he hoped to provoke a debate on children in war zones, claiming he wrote the dramatic script after watching news coverage of the ongoing conflict in Syria. He said:

If I could make a film and pretend it was real, people would share it and react with hope. We shot it in Malta in May this year on a set that was used for other famous movies like Troy and Gladiator. The little boy and girl are professional actors from Malta. The voices in the background are Syrian refugees living in Malta.

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The crew filming the video in Malta. (BBC)

The crew filming the video in Malta. (BBC)

Klevberg also said in a statement he tweeted on November 14th:

“The motivation behind the production and the Internet release of the film was to spur debate, urge action on behalf of innocent children all over the world who are affected by war. We are pleased that the film spread widely and that the debate has indeed focused on the children’s lives during war.”

The film received funding from the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) in collaboration with the Audio and Visual Fund from Arts Council Norway, and was uploaded to YouTube on November 10th. Some analysts said, the mainstream media and US government took advantage of the video to use it as evidence against the Syrian government.

Klevberg also said:

I was not uncomfortable. By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that’s often used in war; make a video that claims to be real. We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video.

John Einar Hagen, the producer, also told the BBC:

The children surviving gunshots was supposed to send small clues that it was not real. We had long discussions with the film’s financiers about the ethics around making a film like this.

According to intelligence services, Norway is one of the ‘highest rates per capita’ of nationals (more than 50 individuals) who have travelled to Syria in order to join the terrorist groups there.

The continual proxy war on Syria started in 2011, killing more than 200,000 people, including more than 11,000 children. About half of the Syrian population has been forced to flee their homes.

Behind The Scenes of The Film

Sources:

  1. Ron Paul Institute
  2. BBC
  3. Daily Mail


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